Content is at the heart of all inbound marketing. While plenty of elements are important for a successful inbound marketing campaign, at the end of the day, your website content is what's going to really determine its success or failure.
No matter how good your keyword strategies are, no matter how well-built your Call to Action buttons are, and no matter how many organic inbound links you cultivate... If the content behind all that isn't consistent, relevant, entertaining, and valuable to your readers, they aren't going to stick around your website long enough to convert into leads or sales.
In SEO and inbound marketing, it's all too easy to get caught up in statistics and forget the human element. Great website content is what truly makes your website valuable today.
The “Other” Five-Second Rule
When considering what to put onto your website, there's one very important rule you should keep in mind at all times: The Five-Second Rule. That's how long you have, on average, to grab the attention of an average first-time visitor and convince them to stick around.
It sounds a bit far-fetched, but that's what the statistics say. If you want to see it in action for yourself, grab a stopwatch, click on your site within a Google search, and see how you do. Does your website even load within five seconds? If not, it needs to be optimized before you even worry about more specific content issues.
If it does load quickly, that's excellent. Now, notice how much information you can actually take in within the 2-3 seconds after your site loads. Are you grabbing eyeballs as soon as they hit your page? Here are a few issues to look for when trying to do this.
Four Keys For Using Website Content To Beat The Five-Second Rule
Relevancy: Perhaps first and foremost, if a person hitting your page scans it and it doesn't look like it's relevant to what they were searching for, they will bail on you. And quickly. Analyzing your keyword strategies and comparing them against searches people are using to find you will help you pin down whether they're getting truly relevant links to your materials.
Consistency: You need to be consistent both in the quality AND the quantity of content you produce. A well-maintained website with frequent updates impresses visitors, as well as bringing in more search spiders to index your site. Consistent quality gets you inbound links, as well as making users more likely to browse your articles even once their immediate question is answered.
Value: There might not be such a thing as a free lunch, but on the Internet, you have to come close. The content you provide has to have value to the customers. Purely promotional materials don't pass muster because, at the end of the day, most Internet readers don't care what you think unless it impacts them somehow. With any piece of content, ask yourself: “Why would a stranger want to look at this?” If you can't find a good answer, it needs revising.
Entertainment: Some might say this falls under “value,” but it bears mention on its own. Your content has to be interesting and entertaining in some sense. If you can make it overtly entertaining, such as adding humor, that's wonderful. If not, you still need to be providing unique perspectives and ideas, to provide more reason to look at your materials.
Finally, one question that often gets raised is “How long should blog posts be?” This is an area without much rigorous study behind it, and plenty of people have plenty of different opinions. Generally speaking, we'd consider 400-800 words the outside ranges, and if you aim for around 600 words, that's about perfect. It gives you room to explain yourself, without overstaying your welcome.
So, what other tips have you discovered for creating website content that beats the five-second rule?
image 1: blog.grafflicks.com
image 2: gsm.ucdavis.edu